Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Recent History of Public Good Health

Tuesday wasn’t warm but it was lovely and bright and sunny. My morning walk was particularly beautiful because it was so quiet. There wasn’t a sound in the forest, not even the birds were making any noise.  Usually on such mornings, I hear the Sea Lions on Entrance Island bellowing, but not this morning.

I mowed all the lawns and watered the gardens. (I hate the noise of my gasoline powered mower, but the grass is growing like mad thanks to the endless sunshine, moderate temperatures and periodic showers of angel piss.) And I gleefully planted the Laburnum. Then, at 1:30,a massive cloud rolled in and delivered a brief downpour of hail! Tons of little ice balls thundered on my metal roof before it turned to rain and then back to sunshine.

Thanks to the pandemic, my yard has never looked better. Gardening is all I do—that and reading. And speaking of reading … I have been thrilled to discover some fabulous discount sites for books. From Book Outlet, I got seven books for forty-eight dollars! And from Thrift Books, I bought ten for seventy-eight bucks. I’m now paying on average, only seven bucks a book. Woo hoo!

Once the sun was back, I attended to the planting of my two new Blueberry plants and the Rhubarb before taking Her Highness for our second walk of the day. 

Last night I watched a great program on the history of public health since the invention of Penicillin. Alexander Fleming in 1928. But, as the presenters of the program go on to reveal, his discovery went unnoticed until 1940. That’s when Oxford scientists Howard Florey and Ernst Chain produced enough of the drug to prove its efficacy in the treatment of bacterial infection by injecting a soldier on the verge of death from Septicemia.

The discovery of Penicillin added twenty years to the length of the average person’s life. Some 30% of deaths in the two world wars were due to bacterial infection. The series went on to discuss progress since then in anti-viral drugs. 

The thing that really got to me in the program was when one of the presenters mentioned that cities all over the world are full of statuary and portraiture of generals and politicians but hardly anywhere are there monuments to honour the scientists who have more than doubled our life expectancy, and that is wrong! 

I reckon one reason that we have anti-vaxxers and mask deniers is that society has never celebrated medical scientists and their accomplishments. Just think: It’s been less than one hundred years that mankind has enjoyment life without fear of bacterial infection!

Well … I’ll never get those two days back during which I agonized over my stupidity after I accidently stripped the bark of the base of my beloved Paulownia tree. But I needn’t have assumed the worse and tortured myself! My tree is clearly healthy and thriving. I am so, so relieved, and happy. Paulownia’s are gorgeous trees! 

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